The F word we need to talk about that is destroying relationships

How well does your other half really know your financial habits?

Secrets. We all have them. But when it comes to money matters, one in three of us is holding something back from our spouse or partner. And it has the potential to damage a relationship in more ways than one.

In 2016 financial stress was the main cause of relationship breakdowns and still continues to be in the top 3 for the last 3 years.

And what’s crazy is that something that is a fundamental part of life , we still refuse to be open about it when we date or build a relationship with someone.

Our secret financial lives

A recent Mortgage Choice/CoreData white paper on financial fitness confirms that men and women work generally closely together to achieve their financial goals. Though there are some differences of opinion between the sexes.

Among women, 89% say they work with their other half to achieve their goals, while 96% of men believe they collaborate with their spouse or partner to achieve shared aspirations.

However, the study also revealed that when it comes to money matters, many of us are holding something back. Over one in four (29%) women and 32% of men have financial habits that they keep secret from their other half.

For some, taking a covert approach to money goes a lot further. Among both women and men, almost one in five (18%) lead a secret financial life.

We have to stop and ask ourselves , why do we feel so uncomfortable about money and love? Is it fear of judgement , having to justify or being controlled?

Or do we get scared to address how much we earn and owe because it is a reflection of some of our inner thoughts and actions.

Financial cheating

Keeping money secrets has been dubbed ‘financial cheating’ – and often with good reason. Relationships are fundamentally built on trust. And nothing can erode trust quicker than the discovery that your partner has been keeping secrets.

The thing is, keeping a partner in the dark about money habits may not be a sign of fiscal infidelity.

The survey found that in one in three cases, it simply relates to personal shame about the way we manage money. As a guide, 36% of women and 32% of men said they are embarrassed by their own financial habits.

Debt is a cause of discomfort

When it comes to personal discomfort, the research highlights that debt can be a chief culprit to stir up self-reproach.

Almost seven out of ten (68%) men admit to feeling embarrassed about their debt compared to 43% of women. Yet it is women (35.9%) who are more likely to try to hide the fact that they have debt, than men (30.8%).

It’s like we carry around guilt that is attached to spending money we don’t have . In any relationships for things to be corrected they must be confronted .

Solving financial stress

There is no shortage of research that points to money being a key source of stress in a relationship. But in regards to money management between two people sharing a life together, there is a difference between privacy and secrecy.

Sometimes, open and honest communication about money matters can help to cut through the discomfort. With 10% of women and 22% of men admitting to experiencing some sort of financial stress, it can be worth considering whether baring your financial soul to your partner, and working together to actively address problem areas like lingering debt, could aid stress relief.

To download the full Financial Fitness report, click here.

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